World's first commercial fully re-programmable satellite lifts off. Here's all you need to know
Eutelsat Quantum, the world's first commercial fully re-programmable satellite lifted off from French Guiana on Friday on board an Ariane 5 rocket, with the hope of a new era of more flexible communications. The European Space Agency (ESA) posted from its official handle a photo of the Eutelsat Quantum satellite lifting off and said that it is the "first commercial fully flexible software-defined satellite in the world".
The satellite was placed in orbit some 36 minutes after the launch.
"Eutelsat Quantum, developed under an ESA partnership project with satellite operator Eutelsat and prime manufacturer Airbus, is the first commercial fully flexible software-defined satellite in the world," the space agency said in an official release. "Because it can be reprogrammed in orbit, it can respond to changing demands for data transmission and secure communications during its 15-year lifetime. Its beams can be redirected to move in almost real-time to provide information to passengers onboard moving ships or planes."
What is a fully re-programmable satellite?
Unlike conventional models that are designed and "hard-wired" on Earth and cannot be repurposed once in orbit, the Eutelsat Quantum allows users to tailor the communications to their needs -- almost in real-time.
Because it can be reprogrammed while orbiting in a fixed position 35,000 kilometers (22,000 miles) above the Earth, the Quantum can respond to changing demands for data transmission and secure communications during its 15-year lifetime, according to the European Space Agency.
Eutelsat Quantum: 8 communication beams to provide mobile coverage
The 3.5-tonne Quantum model has eight communications beams, each of which can be modified to change its area of coverage and also the power of the telecommunications signal it emits.
Using software made available to the customer, these changes can be made "in a matter of minutes", according to Eutelsat.
This means the satellite can be used to provide mobile coverage for moving objects such as aircraft or oceangoing vessels or to provide coverage after a natural disaster or for one-off events.
Satellite to monitor 'malicious intent'
And at a time of growing concern over digital security -- as well as the possible weaponising of space -- Quantum is able to pinpoint the origin of signals emitted with or without malicious intent and take action to remedy the interference.
The Quantum will cover a large geographical area from West Africa to Asia for a period of 15 years.
(With inputs from AFP)